Life as a Pre-Diabetic: A Journey to Health

At 36 years old, standing at 5’4” and weighing 123llbs, I found myself in the best physical shape of my life. My new city's remarkable walkability, coupled with proximity to parks and natural preserves, fueled my love for daily walks and hikes. Little did I know that my routine yearly check-up, prompted by a job incentive, would reveal a surprising diagnosis – pre-diabetes.

Understanding Pre-diabetes: Being pre-diabetic comes with its challenges, from elevated glucose levels and cholesterol to potential cardiovascular risks. It's a wakeup call that requires immediate and drastic lifestyle changes. Here's how I embarked on this transformative journey:

  1. Learn the Patterns: To comprehend my dietary habits better, my doctor recommended using a glucometer. This device, worn for 20 days, provided real-time blood sugar readings. I discovered the impact of certain drinks, leading me to cut out high-sugar options like Vanilla Lattes and Hot Cocoa.

  2. No More Dessert Drinks: Observing spikes in glucose levels from sugary beverages, I eliminated dessert drinks and became mindful of hidden sugars, even in seemingly healthy options like oat milk.

  3. Cut the Added Sugar: Recognizing that many foods taste sweet on their own, I started cutting back on added sugars in items like salad dressings, sauces, and even my beloved oatmeal. Vanilla extract and cinnamon became my go-to for enhancing flavor without relying on sugar.

  4. Measure the Carbs: As a fan of comfort foods like pasta and stews, I began measuring my carbohydrate intake. Limiting portions helped control my overall carb consumption and maintain a balanced diet.

  5. Balance the Plate: Experimenting with recipes featuring grains, lentils, and alternative proteins like quinoa, I aimed for a plate that consisted of half vegetables and 40% protein daily.

  6. Add Fiber: Adopting a consciously plant-based diet rich in fiber proved to be a game-changer. Prioritizing nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods supported effective metabolism and muscle nourishment.

  7. Get That Glucose in Your Muscles: Regular walks and high-intensity exercises became integral to my routine. Contrary to the misconception of exercising first and then eating, I discovered the benefits of incorporating physical activity shortly after meals to optimize glucose utilization.

  8. Stop Vaping: Acknowledging the detrimental effects of nicotine on blood cells and insulin processing, I made the tough decision to quit vaping. Even sporadic smoking had a significant impact on my body's natural processes.

Conclusion: In conclusion, my journey as a pre-diabetic emphasized the importance of being vigilant about what we consume, even in a seemingly health-conscious lifestyle. Health is not solely determined by weight; it's a holistic approach to mindful eating, regular exercise, and eliminating harmful habits. As I navigate through this new chapter, I'm committed to maintaining a balanced and informed lifestyle to ensure a healthier future.

Written by Angelica Contreras Morales 

You can find more about Angelica and how she's navigating life through her photography and food Instagram page here

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